Great Ormond Street doctors used a 3D printer to make my windpipe

Katie, her mum Sharon with pupils from Thornhill College and Glendermott P.S.
Katie, her mum Sharon with pupils from Thornhill College and Glendermott P.S.

This is the amazing schoolgirl who has become the first person in the world to have a 3d model made of her trachea, to be used as part of a life saving operation.

Seven years-old Katie Parke from Ardmore suffers from pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, which is a build up of protein the lungs.

Teachers and pupils from Thornhill College visited Glendermott P.S. on Friday morning.

Teachers and pupils from Thornhill College visited Glendermott P.S. on Friday morning.

The condition is so rare that Katie is one of only three females in the world who have been diagnosed with it.

One of the treatments she has to undergo twice a year at Great Ormond Street hospital is ‘lung washing.’

However her mum Sharon explained that medics had never performed the operation on anyone so young.

“Because she was so small they didn’t have the right tools,” she said.

“When we came back the second time they expected her to have grown, but Katie hadn’t and it was very hard for them to do it.”

Lung washing involves sectioning off part of Katie’s lung while washing out the other, and then vice versa.

To make the operation easier medics printed the first ever 3D windpipe to help improve the speed and safety of the surgery. This involved taking pictures of Katie’s trachea at a CT scan which were then fed into the 3D printer.

Surgeons could then practice with the instruments before the operation.

Katie’s story has been so revolutionary i has been told in the Times, the Guardian and BBC Online.

On Friday children from Katie’s school at Glendermott P.S. got to see how the windpipe was made.

Teachers from Thornhill College visited to school to explain how the 3D printer was used.

Sharon said it was good that Katie’s friends were able to see at first hand what had been going on.